‘We Alone Know’: How King Frederick VI of Denmark and His Regime Coped with Defeat in 1814

Michael Bregnsbo*


Publikation: Kapitel i bog/rapport/konference-proceedingKapitel i bogForskningpeer review


Having sided with France, Denmark was on the losing side in the Napoleonic Wars. Nonetheless, the absolutist regime survived and King Frederick VI remained on the throne until his death in 1839. Officially, he flatly refused any restrictions on his absolutist powers. Nonetheless, the regime was—very publicly—on the defensive. How did the regime’s spokesmen seek to justify its actions in the face of an increasingly critical, liberal public? The essay shows that the regime’s advocates had to use liberal terminology, which they redescribed rhetorically to bolster absolutism, especially once the advisory Assemblies of the Estates had been introduced in the early 1830s, using the term ‘freedom’ for the core values of the system and describing the regime as the best guarantor of that freedom. The phrase ‘We alone know’, ostensibly the king’s, was used by the opposition to characterize Frederick VI and his regime, but here is shown to have been the king’s attempt to rise above vested political interests and make decisions for the good of society as a whole. His was an outdated system clinging determinedly to power.

TitelResilience and Recovery at Royal Courts, 1200–1840
RedaktørerFabian Persson, Munro Price, Cinzia Recca
Antal sider16
ForlagPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Trykt)978-3-031-20122-6, 978-3-031-20125-7
ISBN (Elektronisk)978-3-031-20123-3
StatusUdgivet - 2023
NavnQueenship and Power

Bibliografisk note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


Dyk ned i forskningsemnerne om '‘We Alone Know’: How King Frederick VI of Denmark and His Regime Coped with Defeat in 1814'. Sammen danner de et unikt fingeraftryk.